Foster Care Awareness Month

May is National Foster Care Awareness Month, and in our community there is a great need to show the love of Christ to those who are a part of the foster care system. Currently, there are 12,000 children in GA in care and over 300 here in Clarke County.

More than 300 children in our community have been removed from their home because it has been deemed unsafe for them to live there. Since there are not enough open foster homes available for these children, they are oftentimes moved further from their families and friends – making a hard situation even more challenging and scary.

While there is a great need for more foster families in this community, we know that not every family is able to open their homes to children needing safety and love, but we also know is that we are all called by God to care for vulnerable children. James 1:27 is one verse often referenced with this calling, but there are countless more that show God’s heart for children in need.

We all have a role we can play in obedience to this call to enter into the brokenness of others and display the love and heart of Jesus.

That’s where we are here to help you!

We want to help you find your role and show you how to engage the many people who are entering into the difficulty of foster care, bringing light and redemption to it! We have foster families and professionals in our church who play an integral role in the health and well-being of these children.

We want to invite you to come alongside them to offer support and to help meet their needs as they pour themselves out into these children’s lives. There are Care Teams in place that give people the opportunity to serve families who foster, usually once a month, by bringing them a home-cooked meal, providing babysitting, giving date-nights, encouraging their spirits through prayer, and so much more!

Additionally, there are opportunities to support professionals who work each day with vulnerable children – to supply them with materials, support, and encouragement to help them have more to give these children.

We are excited about continuing to support these families and professionals with your help!

We invite you to stop by the information table before or after the gathering this Sunday to learn more about how we can demonstrate the love of Christ to those in our community through this ministry.

If you aren’t able to stop by but would still like to learn how you can get involved, please reach out to Katie Wood (kmw343@gmail.com) or Stephanie Mann (sbrown@chosenforlifeathens.com).

You can also visit chosenforlifeathens.com to learn more about how churches can get involved in orphan care locally.

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Easter: A Reality Bigger Than One Sunday A Year

I catch glimpses of the Kingdom. Not the Magical Kingdom where Mickey Mouse reigns supreme, but the heavenly one that Jesus talks about. Cinderella’s Castle has nothing on the transparent streets of gold and pearly gates revealed to John in the book of Revelation, but nonetheless, Disney World is a solid representation of hope for our heavenly home.

Every time our three-year-old sees the classic Disney castle logo in her favorite Princess movies, she reminds us of our promise to her and we say, “Yes, we will take you to Disney World when you turn five,” before she can finish her well-practiced request.

She’s never seen Disney World, but she believes it’s there.

And she longs for it. 

She reminds us of our promise to her with unwavering faith.

I have to think—do I yearn for the heavenly Kingdom like this? Do I daydream about God’s promise to usher us into a face-to-face meeting with Jesus? No. I do the laundry. I put away the groceries before the frozen fish thaws and Ellie has a hanger melt-down. I send out reminders for upcoming events to sell essential oils, but, Oh Lord—do I ever grab my friends by the shoulders and proclaim, “We get to go to the Kingdom soon! Can you believe it?!”

Do I convey the urgency of the gospel with the same zeal I use to convince college students that they just have to see the new Beauty and the Beast movie?

Don’t I want to spend forever with them laughing in the wonderful place that out-rivals any stretch of the Hollywood imagination?

Yes! Jesus, remind us of your Kingdom come.

Remind us that when life’s emergencies seem urgent, your eternal plan is what matters.

We don’t need a logo, a wish upon a star, or a magic spell to remember the Kingdom.

We need Him.

We need His words:

“...knowing that the One who raised the Lord Jesus will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in His presence.” 2 Corinthians 4:14

"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.’" Revelation 21:3-4

“...And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” Matthew 28:20

Easter only comes once a year, but the Spirit never ceases to speak the victory over our souls: “Jesus rose!”

This proclamation outmatches any tired tagalong response to our deep concerns. Have you ever heard people relate a relatively flat story and follow up with, “and then I found five dollars”? What a let-down. Sure, five dollars would be nice, but we are promised a Kingdom made of precious jewels, given access to eternity by a King who loved us so much that He paid for our entrance with His life. And as He overcame death, by His power we will overcome life. 

When your friend won’t return your text: Jesus rose!

When you can’t get pregnant: Jesus rose!

When the days are too long to bear: Jesus rose!

Jesus rose.

We might not know when Jesus is coming back, but He will come. There is an end date. We can take consolation that He is with us now, and the future is good. 

The next time Ellie gives us her line about Disney World, I’ll be reminded of the Kingdom that is to come.  “Yes, we will go,” I’ll tell her, “one day, we will see the Kingdom.”

 

Written by Kasey Shuler

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What Is God's Will for Your Life?

What is God's will for your life? Making decisions and trusting God

In our lives we have to make all sorts of decisions. Some of those decisions are big and some are small. Some are made very easily and almost subconsciously while others feel impossible. Also, we all go through seasons of our lives where we aren't even sure what we want. So to make a decision that has any real impact on the direction of our lives can be incredibly overwhelming.

Decisions have a tendency to freak us out because what happens if we choose wrong? What if we pick the wrong major? What if you choose to date or marry the wrong person? What if you are going to the wrong church? What if...?

In our Gathering this past Sunday we spent a little time considering Proverbs 3:5-12 and the question, "What is God's will for your life?".

The bible teaches that the best possible life that is available to us is to line our lives up with the way God says we should live. Verses 5 & 6 of Proverbs 3 say it like this; Trust in the Lord with all your heart, do not lean on your own understanding, acknowledge him in all your ways, and He will make your paths straight. 

What do you think of when you read in the bible, "He will make your paths straight"?

I think it means to continually, and without wavering, be headed toward your goal. Now, that doesn't mean that the straight path is always the easiest one. It just means that it is the best way to get to where you want to go. The problem is that some of the time, and maybe even most of the time, we don't know where we want to go. The good news is that we aren't left on our own to figure it all out. 

This is where trusting God comes in. This is where we all get to breathe out, "lean not on your own understanding". And all God's people said Amen. 

But still we have a question to answer. What does God want for you? What is His will for your life? This is the question Matt answered in his sermon on Sunday. The answer to that question from Proverbs 3 is "we learn the will of God from the Word of God". We learn what God wants for us by knowing, understanding, and relying on His Word.

Trusting God at His Word and not relying on ourselves to have it all figured out is how we free ourselves from the weight of all those "what ifs?". And if God specifically says in His Word "don't try to do this on your own, let me help you" I think it is safe to say that he doesn't expect us to get it right all time. The way forward is to trust God believing that his way is better than our way because he knows things that we do not know, rely on His word, learn his will, and to do the best we can. 

If you are in the middle of a big decision (big decisions are things like job changes, moving to a different city, getting engaged/married, buying a house, etc.) or you have one coming up in the near future, maybe this will help...

Here are 3 questions to help you make those decisions and give you confidence that you are living out the will of God for your life.

  1. Does the Bible speak clearly to this issue?
    • Not all things in the Bible fall into the category of black and white but some do. If you are trying to decide whether or not to do something that the bible clearly says we should do or not do then you don't have to pray about it. You don't need to deliberate about whether or not you should have sex with a person you are not married to or about making a business decision that results in you cheating someone out of money because the bible speaks clearly to those issues.
  2. Does the Bible give me a wise decision to make?
    • Not all decisions in life will have a chapter and a verse we can go to for an answer. For example, although many people would disagree, no one ever decided to come to the University of Georgia because the bible explicitly told them to. But, the Bible does give us principles and parameters around the decisions we need to make.
  3. What's at stake?
    • In decision making we need to ask ourselves what's at stake. If this is truly a big decision you need to live in questions 1 and 2 until you get clarity on how the Word speaks to and informs the decision you are trying to make.
    • If its not a big deal and there isn't much at stake, make a decision the best you can and move forward with confidence.
    • Listen to the voice of God and listen to His Word. Listen to Godly people around you and make the best decision you can. Then trust God with the results.

Here are 2 errors we need to avoid when trying to make decisions, big or small.

  1. Don't go to the Word to hear from God about a decision only to ultimately make the decision on your own. When God speaks you should listen and respond. 
  2. Don't go to the Word with the intent to twist whatever you hear from God into what you want it to say. Many of us become masters of making the bible agree with our own agenda.

How has God used this sermon and Proverbs 3 in your life? Let us know here

 

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